From hundreds of miles away, five songwriters converge once a year in Kittery, ME to achieve one goal; an album of music. With minimal pre-written material, they assemble each year knowing they will hash-out in the studio what will become a complete and coherent collection of songs. The core of Shutterwax is (in alphabetic order); Jeffrey Brayne, Jessica Brayne, Keith Bonner, Harvey Brice, Frank Diorio and Mark Rufino. All songwriters in their own right, the united vision of Shutterwax is pure collaboration; to take skeletons and give them flesh, blood and finally life. A beautiful Frankenstein so to speak. Or maybe an ugly one. Either way, the songs are all truly Shutterwax, unique and fun.
What can you expect to hear from Shutterwax? Just about anything really. They do not limit themselves in any capacity, so you may hear Rock, Folk, Dance, Country, R&B, Surf, etc. on any given Shutterwax album.
With very limited time, usually five days at best, they make a list of all the ideas they’ve had over the past year, quickly listen and evaluate each ‘demo’ or song-snippet for viability, then quickly get to work in a flurry of creativity, writing lyrics, verses, bridges and choruses in whatever style is most appropriate for each song. Every member of Shutterwax brings a very unique toolkit with them as each has years and years of experience playing nearly every genre of popular music. If the song is not fun or creative, it is quickly abandoned in favor of another idea.
The end product is almost always interesting and certainly unique; a complete song is the goal and it’s performed the best way Shutterwax can with the constraints of a two-to-three hour limit on each song. This means two-to-three hours from inception there is a demo then complete basic tracking. Jeff, Mark and Frank are usually working out the music while Harvey and Jessica are writing lyrics, but all have input on all aspects of each song for a perfect balance of influence and sensibility.
Some quick descriptions of a few of the songs you will hear on the 2014 release, Dig Me a Well:
"Dig Me a Well" began as a dance track that Mark had written then with decisive lyrics by Harvey and Jessica, the song morphed into a Cow Punk anthem complete with Andrews Sister's-type harmonies.
“I’ll Fly Away” started out as a folk-style, smooth, melodic song about an obsessive boy who leaves note after note on his girlfriend’s door in hopes she will soften and agree to let him back in her life. A few minutes on the Shutterwax table and the hard-edged bridge and fundamental support shook away the exterior tolerance and to reveal the emotional upheaval that she felt when her point was not understood.
“Apocalypse, Please Be True” showcases Harvey’s wit supported with a beautiful, bouncy melody complete with a George Winston-esque piano solo. Having a sentiment to which everyone can relate in the face of a changing world, it proclaims; life can be daunting. Waiting for things to happen for you can bring about your own apocalypse.
"Some Girls" rings eerily with a frenetic minor-key riff and sardonic lyrics about the extreme narcissism found in the social media space. The song's summary is a nod to Dick Dale and The Clash with a sinister surf riff over dark and powerful chords.
“Love Beyond Your Means” has a duplicitous dynamic of starting with a saccharine-sweet Hawaiian ukulele-driven melody sure to make the most hardened sentiments soften then quickly turn sour in the realization of unrealistic expectations in love.
We believe there is something for everyone in this collection and truly hope you enjoy your listening experience. We certainly enjoyed creating these. Happy listening! - Shutterwax
- Jeffrey Brayne: Guitars, Ukulele, Vocals, Harmonica
- Jessica Brayne: Vocals, Percussion
- Harvey Brice: Vocals, Guitars, Melodica, Percussion
- Frank Diorio: Drums, Percussion
- Mark Rufino: Bass, Synthesizers, Vocals, Engineering
- Zach Onett: Piano on Apocalypse, Please Be True
- Travis Taylor: Bagpipes on American Dream
- Bob Wilson: Drums on American Dream
- John Rogers: Drums on Willowman
- Cameron Brayne: Synthesizers on Willowman
- Andrew and Gavin Brayne: Additional Vocals
A huge and special thanks to:
Daniel Cho, Paul Kim, Bob Wilson, Travis Taylor, Zach Onett, Janice Bevilacqua, Larry Seltzer (aka Lazlo of Blowup Radio), Steve Mancini, Rob Cantalupo, Corey Simpson and Winston Brayne. Without their help and support, we’d be just another band in the crowd.